Three bombs target Syrian Interior Ministry

BEIRUT Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:14pm IST

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - A car bomb and two other explosives went off at the main gate of the Syrian Interior Ministry in Damascus on Wednesday, causing some deaths, state television said.

It did not give figures on casualties. Lebanon's al-Manar television, which supports Hezbollah, said four people were killed and more than 20 wounded in the explosions.

The ministry is in Kafar Souseh, an area of the Syrian capital that borders the central Ummayad Square and is contested between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

A resident said she heard sirens and shooting after a "huge explosion". The pro-government TV station Al-Ikhbariya aired footage of concrete rubble, blood on the floor and a 2-metre-wide hole in the road.

Rebels have made gains on the outskirts of Damascus recently but relied on hit and run attacks and bombs in the centre of the city, often on state security buildings or areas loyal to Assad, such as Jaramana, where twin bombs killed 34 people in November.

A July 18 bomb attack that killed four of Assad's closest aides, including his feared brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, was followed shortly by an insurgent advance into the city but they were later pushed back.

At least 40,000 people have been killed in Syria's uprising, which started in March 2011 with street protests which were met with gunfire by Assad's security forces, and spiralled into the most enduring and destructive of the Arab uprisings.

(Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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